Hack Day Recap25 April 2014
Last week our second Hack Day took place at PeerTransfer. Unlike our previous FedEx Day, this time, the whole company was encouraged to participate by sharing ideas and self-organizing teams around the proposed ideas, aiming to motivate and to reach features that are not of first importance but we really think are nice to have.
Since our development team at PeerTransfer is small in proportion we couldn’t afford working on every of the eighteen ideas that were proposed. So we had to cut the list to focus on the ideas that either were more likely to be accomplished in one day or had the most potential impact on the company.
The selection of ideas and team members working on them was done by asking everyone participating for the three ideas they would like to work on or would like to see being developed during those 24+ hours (1). We sorted the ideas by the number of interested people and took the four most interesting ones.
What we got from that selection was a pretty good balance between challenging projects and features to give a push to our business. In summary, developers were happy to get their hands on things out of the day to day business, and in some other cases people were happy to have some features that are not that high priority to the business seeing the light of day.
The following projects were presented:
Company wide Wiki
Except for the development team which was already using a wiki each team was using some other place for knowledge sharing. This wiki, which is now about to be put into production, is going to encourage sharing knowledge across other teams.
File upload capabilities
So far our customers weren’t able to upload a bank receipt to justify that they’ve made a bank transfer payment to us, and so our Customer Service Representatives had to handle those exceptional cases. By the way this project was approached, it will not only help us handling those exceptions but also will make pretty easy for us to implement file uploads for any other reasons.
Even that we have our mailing lists on which some announcements are made by each different side of the company there was still some events that no one was knowing about. This timeline is going to allow anyone to keep up to date, not only with events someone wants to share, but also with some events that can be directly captured from our services platform.
On this project the developers, which for the most part work in backend systems, have been able to validate how capable we are of building a mobile application to provide our customers with a quicker way of checking their payments progress.
After the presentations people made their votes and “File upload capabilities” was the winner project.
This friendly competition has been not only fun and challenging but quite productive. Three of the projects are making their way into production. One will be seen and used internally by the company and the other two just need some polishing before they can be turned on.
Furthermore, our fellow tester had some time for refactoring and improving our smoke suite which even if was not presented as a project it’s been a benefit for us, since that suite is now faster and easier to understand by the rest of our team.
We don’t know when and how but we’ll held another hack day for sure.
(1) Since half the company works from the United States (Boston) and the other half from Europe (Valencia) we started hacking on 8:00 AM CEST time one day and finished 10:00 AM EST time the next day, so everyone could attend the presentations.